Tag - ruins

New “Portals of Stone” For Your Desktop : Beauly Priory

Follow this link to get “Beauly Starscape” for your computer desktop.

Regular visitors to this site will recognize Beauly Priory as the place where, in a real sense, this whole “Portals of Stone” business got started.

Beauly Priory - a small abbey ruin on the Black Isle near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands

Beauly Priory – a small abbey ruin on the Black Isle near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands

It has been almost a year since I’ve created a new “Portals” piece. For much of that time, I’ve been scanning my photo libraries looking for suitable candidates for the “Portals” treatment.  I noticed this shot from our (brief) stop at Beauly during our trip to Scotland  in the fall of 2012 several months ago and have had it on my “to-do” list ever since.

I finally got around to it this past weekend. and after struggling through re-learning all the software that I need to create these images, I finally came up with the image above.

It’s actually quite fitting that I finally got around to creating a new “Portals” piece over this past weekend, and very much in keeping with the “coming full circle” quality of this particular experience: I’ve been thinking seriously about it for several weeks, and two days after creating and posting this, I booked flights to return to the UK for the singular purpose of expanding on this theme and growing the catalog.

I did not know that I would be creating the “Portals of Stone” series until several weeks after I  returned from my Celctic Pilgrimage to the UK in the spring of 2013. And now that the idea has taken root (and seems to be spreading some), I’ve been jonesing to back to that part of the world with that specific purpose in mind.

So come October 7, I’ll be returning to the UK for two weeks. I’ll be flying into Glasgow to see the Cathedral there, which is one of the more spectacular creations of this kind of architectural still standing intact in the UK (so many others were destroyed in the wake of the Dissolution).

From Glasgow I will be heading into Dumfries/Galloway to see (at least) the ruins of Sweetheart Abbey and Caerlaverock Castle, and then I’ll head east to Aberdeen to see St. Andrews Cathedral and Dunnottar Castle.  After that, I’m not sure.  I might even hop over to Tipperary, Ireland to see the Rock of Cashel.

I mention all this because, after I post this download, I suspect it’s going to travel some.  If you’re a new visitor to this site and perhaps live anywhere near the areas I’ve just described, please get in touch with me, perhaps I can visit and avail myself to some of your local knowledge.

 

T-Minus 2 Days and Still Counting

(This is the second of two installments. Part 1 is here, Part 3 is here.

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I’m still working on another post (or two) about how my trip to Britain next week came about, and will perhaps get the story finished before I leave on Sunday. For now, I want to get something else out there.

It begins with a passage that came to mind in the midst of some breath work with my therapist on Wednesday:

The heart seeks
and only the heart can find
that which we do not know
that we know

Now, as much as I am loathe to even mention the name – much as Harry Potter referred to Voldemort as “he who cannot be named” – the thought above is a corollary to something Donald Rumsfeld famously (infamously?) said during one of his Pentagon press conferences when he was trying to explain whathefuck had gone wrong in Iraq:

There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know.

I’ve always thought that Rumsfeld’s assessment of the realms of knowledge and ignorance stops just short of what might be the most import insight of all, that…

There are things that we do not know… that we know.

Basic, fundamental, truths of existence that live on a subsurface, spiritual level that where we do not spend nearly enough time.

Perhaps I am going to the ancient ruins of Britain to spend time in places where long ago mystics and monks did just that.

As good a reason as any…

And, now that I think about it, I realize that right after I had the “breath work revelation” I’ve shared above, I may have had a clear illustration of the principal – and an affirmation of why I have to go on this trip alone.

After I saw Kenneth on Wednesday,  I went downtown to the Shelby Street bridge to photograph the Nashville skyline and see what sort of results I would get shooting for HDR with my new Nikon D600.

The results at sunset were pretty satisfactory if uninspiring, except perhaps for this one shot where I got  everything to line up:  the sun hitting the tops of the building, the f/16 aperture that produces the cool star effect:

Sunset over the Nashville Skyline - May 15, 2013

Sunset over the Nashville Skyline – May 15, 2013

But after I got that shot I stood around and waited for over an hour for the sky to darken and the lights of the city to come on.  And about 8:30PM I got this shot, which I think is downright spectacular:

Twilight Over The City

Twilight Over The City

… because I WAITED FOR IT (and trust me on this, the small rendering here doesn’t do the image justice; click here to see the whole frame a bit larger).

And that, sadly, is what I can’t seem to do when I’m with Ann.  At least, not that day we stopped at the Beauly Priory on the Black Isle near Edinburgh. And I’ll say again, I think Ann got better photos in less time than I did.  But I wasn’t done yet…

That’s why I drove away thinking, “I have to come back here by myself.”

And now, it appears, I am doing just that.

In two days.

Because when the heart is patient.. only then.. can it find what it does not know that it knows.

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And now, the rest of the story...